Drive-In Cinemas Are Making A Comeback

By Michaela Moriarty / October 15, 2020
drive-in cinema

When the lockdown first began back in March, all places of business, except some in the food industry were told to close. This included any venues that were used for entertainment – clubs, cinemas and concert venues. This meant that a lot of people who worked in the entertainment industry lost their source of income, despite the Covid Payment being put in place. For performers, they lost something that they love doing as well as income. 

While socialising during lockdown managed to reinvent itself and thrive, with people using web chat services such as Zoom, the excitement of going to meet up with other people has been lost. What’s more, a lot of people lost a valuable aspect of life when they closed down. The ability to escape real life for a couple of hours to get lost in a movie or show or concert.

For cinema, they were perhaps one of the most hit industries during lockdown. Cinemas across Ireland were shut down, and because they are a close proximity venue, they needed some major reworking to have the chance of opening again. 

Well, now people are looking for alternatives to get their movie fix. And it seems that the answer has been right under our noses all along. 

Drive-in cinemas have been around for a long time, with the first one that was patented in 1933 Richard Hollingshead in New Jersey. Although they had been around before then, they experienced a peak after WW2 that lasted until the 1960s. Perhaps most people will recognise them from the movie Grease, when Sandy and Danny go to one on a date. 

The concept for them is simple. There is a large screen set up outside, in an area that can hold a number of cars. People go up to the entrance and pay for the ticket there. Sometimes there will be concession stands for food and drink. Generally, you will get a frequency to tune into on your car radio to listen to the movie (and sometimes there will be speakers around to help with sound).

They started to fall out of favour in the 70s, and then experienced a resurgence in the early noughties. Now, though there are few around, they are regaining popularity. 

During lockdown they have seen a resurgence as people try to get their movie fix. Sometimes, you just need to get out and watch something on a big screen and not at home using streaming services such as Disney+ or Netflix. 
The drive-in movie theatres in Ireland are limited, with most being centred in and around Dublin. However, for those in need, they are a great alternative. Here are the ones I found that you can attend


Retro Drive-In Cinema

This company is the original drive-in cinema experience in Ireland, They have expanded to two locations. One in Leopardstown and the other in Glenroe farm.


Here are the Retro Drive-In Leopardstown Screenings


M50 15, 

Exit Lodge Glenageary Rd Upper, 

Glenageary, Dublin, 

A96 H2T1


Here are the Retro Drive-In Glenroe Screenings


Glenroe Farm



Co. Wicklow

Retro Drive-In Cinema tries to keep all of their movies family friendly, so it’s great fun for people young and old. Of course, there will be the odd screening of movies rated higher than G/PG, so make sure to check the rating first!

Their tickets can be bought on their website, so make sure when you do, you print them out for access! Also, you will need a functioning stereo to listen to the movie.

Find out more on their website, linked above. Here is a link to their FAQ page as well.  

Starlite Drive-in Cinema


Starlite Drive-in Cinema

Naas Racecourse,

Tipper Rd, Tipper West, Naas,

Co. Kildare

You can buy your tickets here

While they did shut down for lockdown, they are back up and running! Running events as soon as Halloween, you’ll be looking at the big screen in no time. The tickets are scanned from your car window to allow for social distancing and it is one ticket per car per movie. Again, you will need a functioning radio to listen to the movie. Places are a first come first serve basis, so get there as early as you can!

Drive-In Movies @ The RDS



Merrion Road,


Dublin 4

D04 AK83

While they aren’t open yet, Drive-In Movies at the RDS hope to be back right in time for Christmas! To keep everything safe, they will offer on site sanitation, cars will be 3 meters apart and, like the others, it will be a contactless experience. Check their website, or subscribe to their mailing list for more information on tickets.

The Pop-Up Drive-In


Junction 6

River Rd, 



Co. Dublin, 

D15 EA43

The final drive-in movie theatre I could find. They have closed for now, but keep an eye on their website for when they re-open! Alternatively, if you are hosting a large event, you can send an enquiry to rent their venue out!

Check out this event that’s happening for Halloween as well! Hosted by Colm Slattery of Fruit Sonic and FlutterTone, our journalist Katy takes you through this drive-in event.

Halloween Drive-In: 4 of the Best Halloween Movies

During the current pandemic, and with a chance of even more restrictions being enforced, being able to do family activities out of the house seems to be a distant memory. Hopefully this will certainly brighten those prospects! 

Is there any film you would like to see at a drive-in cinema? Let me know in the comments below!

You can support us by buying us a coffee,
Every little bit will go towards creating new and exciting content for you!

About the author

Michaela Moriarty

Michaela is a writer and editor based in Dublin. Dabbles in fiction writing on the side, also likes to game and bake for fun.


Leave a comment: